Today in Hockey History: New York Rangers Hire Phil Esposito as GM

Phil Esposito
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During the NHL’s hiatus, we at Last Word on Hockey are going to look back at each date’s historical significance to the game. We’ll remember the moments that shaped the sport of hockey that happened on this day. Here’s our look at this date in hockey history for July 14th, featuring Phil Esposito.

Today in Hockey History

Phil Esposito Hired as Rangers GM

1986: The New York Rangers hire the Hockey Hall of Famer to help the team end their Stanley Cup drought. He replaces Craig Patrick as the team’s general manager. Esposito promises the bring the silver chalice back to Broadway for the first time since 1940.

He hopes to build off of the Blueshirts trip to the Wales Conference Finals. However, Esposito is fired in 1989 after the team is ousted in the Patrick Division semifinals. New York ends its Cup drought in 1994 by beating the Vancouver Canucks.

Other Notable Events

1976: The league officially relocates the California Seals to Cleveland to become the Barons. It’s the first relocation of a franchise since Ottawa was moved to St. Louis in 1934.

1989: The Quebec Nordiques sign Guy Lafleur after his one-year comeback with the Rangers. He plays two more seasons and scores 12 goals each year before retiring for good.

1994: The Chicago Blackhawks sign free-agent forward Bernie Nicholls to a contract. He played the last season-and-a-half with the New Jersey Devils.

1995: The St. Louis Blues sign former four-time Stanley Cup-winning goalie Grant Fuhr to a deal. Fuhr wins four titles with the Edmonton Oilers comes over after spending the last season with the Buffalo Sabres and Los Angeles Kings. He goes 108-87 with 41 ties in 249 games during four seasons with the Blues.

1998: The Calgary Flames acquire Bob Bassen from the Dallas Stars. Aaron Gavey comes to the Stars to complete the deal.

1999: Pat Quinn becomes the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Quinn becomes the only active coach/general manager at the time. He keeps both roles until John Ferguson takes over Aug. 29, 2003. Quinn stays on as head coach until the end of the 2005-06 season.

2000: The Minnesota Wild sign Finnish forward Antti Laaksonen. He played previously for the Boston Bruins.

2003: The Rangers sign free-agent defenceman Greg de Vries to a new deal. He played previously with the Colorado Avalanche.

Dallas signs free-agent defenceman Don Sweeney, who played his last 15 seasons with Boston.

Happy Birthday to You

1921: Armand Gaudreault

1957: Kevin McCarthy

1960: Mike McPhee

1976: Lubos Bartecko

1986: Nikolai Kulemin

1993: John Gibson